At Daimler-Benz headquarters they were pulling for BMW to win control of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars last wee, not Volkswagen.
Daimler and BMW are fierce rivals, but not bitter ones. For decades, they have co-existed like upper-class gentlemen.
They can afford to be genteel because they are so successful. Together, they have virtually banished all European full-line carmakers from the luxury sedan segment in the last 10 years.
BMW executives would be reassured to have Daimler enter and expand the super-luxury segment with the Maybach.
And Daimler executives would rather compete with a Rolls-Royce controlled by BMW than one masterminded by the unpredictable Ferdinand Piech.
The Germans were deeply alarmed when Toyota targeted Mercedes and BMW with Lexus a few years ago. Executives feared that Toyota wanted something other than peaceful co-existence. But the anxiety led to revolutions inside BMW and Daimler. They began thinking the unthinkable - new segments, new brands, even passenger-car production outside Germany. Ultimately, they embraced mergers and acquisitions.
Now the old rivals are under fresh attack. Piech's Volkswagen threatens tough price competition and a volume base from which to spin off high-quality, low-cost luxury cars. BMW and Daimler executives worry that VW can do in Europe what Toyota achieved in the USA with Lexus. Owning Rolls would help Volkswagen accomplish that.
Meanwhile, Ford's Jaguar will challenge the E-class and 5 series early next year with its S-Type. Two years later it will bring out a competitor for the 3 series and C-class.
But stress builds strength. Facing up to Ford and Volkswagen in the luxury classes will help BMW and Daimler-Benz compete in the lower segments.